SANTA FE, NM – On Tuesday, Governor Martinez signed into law legislation that will allow members of the military who have just been deployed or given a temporary assignment to discontinue and re-establish utility services without paying a penalty or reconnection fee.
House Bill 175, introduced by Rep. Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana-District 35) during the recently completed legislative session, would include utilities such as water, gas, electricity, trash service, and non cellular telephone service. It would also allow service members to selectively shut off services when a municipality or county bundles them together.
The inspiration for this legislation came from Tech Sergeant Fabian Silva who is currently stationed at Holloman Air Force Base and is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Silva’s parents live in Las Cruces in Steinborn’s legislative district. Silva owns a home in nearby Alamogordo. He has been unable to shut off selective utilities during his deployment. There are many soldiers in Silva’s situation across New Mexico.
The financial burden of paying for utility services while abroad serving our country or on temporary assignment is something many of our service members face. This legislation would ease that hardship.
Upon passage of HB 175 Rep. Steinborn said, “Our men and women in the military do a heroic job for us, and it’s key that we do all we can to help remove uneeded obstacles affecting them, including eliminating excessive fees related to utility services during their deployment. This new law honors deployed soldiers like Tech Sergeant Fabian Silva and others who are serving a long way from home.
Representative Nate Cote, a veteran who was deployed three times during his military and a co-sponsor of HB 175, added “this is a good day for our deployed men and women in the military. I thank all of them for the tremendous job they do for our country. I am proud to do anything I can to help them.“